Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Margie Shirt

It is finished!

The Margie
I'm calling this shirt The Margie after my mother-in-law. She gave me the material with a turtle-neck dress pattern that she never started. I think the fabric worked perfectly for this project!

It really didn't take that long to finish the shirt, but I didn't get down to the sewing room for a few weeks and it's taken more than a week to get this post up. So, what do you think?

I still had a little trouble with the neckband, but I figured it out after talking with my mom and grandma and looking at the pattern instructions again. It's not perfect because there's pinches of fabric here and there, but I really love how it turned out.

It's still been cool enough to wear this shirt and it's thin, so it's perfect for a cool spring day. I'm so proud and happy when I'm wearing it!

Here's the Kwik Sew pattern if you're interested and you can find it here:

I don't know why I waited so long to work with a knit! I've always heard that knits are super hard and you should get comfortable with woven material before tackling this type of project.

Phooey, I say! This was so easy. It did take awhile to figure out how to put on the neck band, but the rest of it was easy-peasy. I can't wait to tackle my next knit!

And I am so happy I've discovered how to use the blind hem foot on my Singer. It's so easy and quick! Though I don't mind hand stitching a blind hem, I think my blind hem foot and I are going to be very close friends. :)

Also, though it's sacrilege, I also cut out this pattern instead of tracing. I usually insist on tracing patterns so that they will last longer, but I was impatient to get sewing.

I don't know why I make a big deal to save the pattern papers whenever women's styles change so much. If I limit the use of pins, it should help the patterns last just as long as it would otherwise, right?

I'd much rather spend what little time I have sewing, not tracing. So, I think my days of tracing maybe over. I'll hold onto the tracing paper to make my own patterns and for drafting, if I ever progress to that level of seamstress.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Zucchini (Squash) Fritters

After making zucchini bread for the National Scrapbooking Day scrap last weekend, I had a lot of leftover grated veggie. So I made zucchini fritters!

This is actually a recipe called squash fritters, which I use summer or crook neck squash to make. Zucchini, of course, is a type of squash, so works perfectly in this recipe, too.

Squash Fritters
6 squash, boiled and mashed or grated
1 egg
1 small onion, minced or chopped
salt and pepper

1. Mix everything together.
2. Pat out into patties or spoon and drop into oil in frying pan at medium heat.
3. Cook until brown on each side and serve.

Chris loves when I make this. We prefer to eat squashes sauteed or steamed, but if we've got some in the freezer or canned, I make this. We eat 'em with ketchup.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Grosgrain's Free Pattern Month starts Monday!

Kathleen over at Grosgrain announced this morning that Free Pattern Month begins Monday!

The event coincides with Kathleen's announcement of changes taking place at Grosgrain. You can read about those changes here.

Click on the button below to go visit. I'll also post this button on my page so you can easily find it in the future.

Zucchini Bread

For the National Scrapbooking Day scrap, our hostess, Judy, asked us to bring a snack (on Friday night) or dish (Saturday lunch) to share.

On Friday I took plain and roasted red pepper hummus and crackers. For Saturday, I warmed up the oven and made my first zucchini bread of the year.

I always get rave reviews when I make this bread. It's almost like eating cake! And it freezes well, too.

Notes before you begin:
1. I never peel the zucchini. I always just wash it good and grate it with the skin on. I love the green flakes that show up in the bread. This is a good way to use up zucchini that may be a bit past it's prime -- a little too soft to cut up and saute but still good enough to eat.
2. I usually don't add nuts to my baked goods because I don't like the texture. But feel free to throw some in. I think pecans would go perfectly with this.
3. For this go round I cut the amount of sugar to 1 3/4 cup -- 2 1/2 cups seemed like an awful lot for two loaves of bread and I knew there would be enough sweet things to munch on at the scrap. The bread still tasted wonderful, even with the less sugar!
4. Usually one medium zucchini will make the 2 cups you need for the recipe. I grated two because just one was a tad too small for the amount I needed. I used the extra grated zucchini in another recipe, which I'll share tomorrow.

Here's what you do:

3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups zucchini peeled and grated
3 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cups chopped nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 and grease two loaf pans.
2. Beat the eggs and then add the oil, sugar, grated zucchini and vanilla. Mix until blended.
3. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nuts. Mix.
4. Pour into loaf pans and bake for 1 hour.

And, most importantly, don't forget to share with someone special (see below).

Sidney's waiting for me to drop some crumbs. She always helps me out in the kitchen! :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

National Scrapbooking Day

Last weekend a friend and I headed to Dobson, N.C., for a scrap to celebrate National Scrapbooking Day. I think I only worked on my scrapbooks once or twice since last year's event. A shame, I know.

But I'm happy to report I completed six pages in my Desserts scrapbook!

I thought I'd be done after eight pages, but as the weekend wore on I kept adding more and more pages because the recipes I planned to showcase together wouldn't fit on the same 12"x12" page. So I've still got six more pages to complete!

Then I'll finally, hopefully, begin working on our wedding scrapbook. (Our 3rd anniversary is Tuesday!)

Here's some pics of my friend, Brenda, working on cards and the pages I completed:

Brenda working on a birthday card. She also made anniversary and Easter cards.

These photos rotate around the brads to reveal the recipe below (see next photo).
I added the words "Eat Cake" because the page looked empty without it.
I used Creative Memories Dual-Tip Pen in Pink.

This is probably my most favorite page of the weekend.
The flowers are from Creative Memories Doodling Templates Flowers and Swirls.
I could only find the templates through a Google Search. A photo is below.

This is the Doodling Templates Flowers and Swirls.
(This image is owned by Creative Memories and is only used for educational /demonstration purposes.)

If you look closely at this page you can see that I used a thinner marker (a dual-tip pen in purple) for the words and then traced the letters with a thicker marker because I didn't like the initial result. It now looks sloppy. Haaa, haaa!
I also would have used more strips of ribbon, but that should have been done before placing the stickers!
This page didn't come together so well, but it'll do.

This is another page that I liked how it came together. Hearts are a Creative Memories shape maker.

Another page that didn't come together all that well, but I really like the flowers and the brads in the bottom right hand corner.
The title "A Crusty Issue!" refers to the two pie crust recipes -- traditional and crumb -- on the page.

This page was missing something and I put it aside to come back to it later.

I later added dragonflies to the top.
The dragonflies were made using a Creative Memories shape maker.
The letter stickers show which order to make and assemble this recipe.
Besides yummy food and scrapping fun, the hostess held several games, giveaways and sales. I racked up on a lot of paper, stickers and embellishments!

I also bought a few things, including a Creative Memories Tag Maker, which I know will get lots and lots of use!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Free patterns

Kathleen over at Grosgrain will feature "Free Pattern Month" in May in celebration of several changes around her blog.

I've very excited to see the changes Kathleen talks about here and am excited about free patterns! Who wouldn't be?

So, to check out this month-long feature, click the button above and enjoy all through May.

And congrats to Kathleen on her changes! I wish her luck and best wishes!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Butternut Squash and Thyme Soup

I love butternut squash and this soup recipe was fabulous!

I altered a butternut squash recipe from Rachael Ray's "Get Togethers: Rachael Ray's 30-minute Meals." This is the second side dish that I've altered into a soup. The first was a pumpkin dish.

I roasted the squash in the oven before I cut it into chunks and put it into a pot with the broth and spices. I like oven-baked squash more so than boiling it or nuking it in the microwave, but you do whatever method suits you. If you put it in the microwave, it'll only take 10 to 12 minutes.

Here's the recipe:

Butternut Squash and Thyme Soup

1 medium butternut squash
2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
pepper and salt to taste

1. Cut the squash in half and spoon at the seeds. Place face down in a baking dish with a little bit of water. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until squash is soft.

2. Cut and peel the squash and place it in a pot with 2 cups of broth (or enough to be level with the squash), thyme, pepper and salt.

3. Cook on medium heat until squash begins to fall apart, stirring occasionally. Mash the squash with the back of a spoon or puree it in a blender. (Note: remove thyme sprigs before putting squash in a blender.)

4. Spoon out the sprigs of thyme and serve with crackers!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cranberry Banana muffins

These are fantastic! I didn't except these to turn out so well. The mixture of banana and cranberry is perfect and the overall sweetness was not overpowering.

I made these on a whim because we had one over ripe banana; not enough to make banana bread, pudding or anything else.

The recipe called for bran, but I used quick-cooking oats instead. I also used dried cranberries I had on hand, not fresh. I also used almond milk, as I'm currently trying out a dairy-free diet. (I've already failed on day two, as you can read here.)

This is from Jen Botts, listed in "Recipes and Remembrances," a Neighbors Grove Wesleyan Church Women of Faith cookbook. My mom gave me this for Christmas last year.

Banana-Cranberry Spice Muffins
By: Jen Botts

1 cup bran cereal
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup ripe banana, mashed
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sweetened cranberries

Mix first 5 ingredients and let sit for a few minutes. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt together and add to mixture. Stir in cranberries.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Carrot and Sweet Potato Salad

For a quick, warm salad, try carrot and sweet potato salad. This recipe is from "Best Ever Indian Cookbook," which I've also talked about here.

The dish calls for a can of chickpeas, but I used pintos because I had them on hand. I also left out the fresh cut tomatoes, which would also be awesome.

This is really quick and simple. Cook the sweet potatoes and carrots until soft, but still crisp. Then you mix them with the beans/peas and tomatoes and garnish with walnuts, raisins and/or onions. You can also pour the mixture over salad for a decorative effect, but I decided that would be a waste of salad.

I preferred the dish with warmed beans, too, and then topping it with raisins. I'm not sure if I'd warm the cut tomatoes or use them as a cool garnish. I'm certainly willing to try this again, so I'll have plenty of chances to try this out in the future.

The dressing is yogurt, a bit of honey and pepper.

I served this with spicy meatloaf, also from the "Best Ever Indian Cookbook." I didn't really like the meatloaf at first, but it grew on me. I used turkey instead of beef and I think the tumeric would complement beef much better than turkey.

The meatloaf is baked with eggs on the top and bottom, so it's like an egg-covered meatloaf, which was quite interesting.